Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Booksmart (2019)


Summary: On the eve of their high school graduation, two academic superstars and best friends realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram four years of fun into one night.
Cast and Characters. 
  • Beanie Feldstein as Molly Davidson. Molly is super smart, she’s Valedictorian and very narrow focused on her future, getting into Yale and of course any other important plans she has. However, when she finds out that other people who had fun in high school but also got into schools she freaks out and now has made it her personal mission to go to a party and have fun. To prove that she could do both. She’s very determined and bossy but she’s still very likable even though she could easily be unlikable. That might be because Beanie Feldstein finds that healthy balance for Molly. A lot of her journey is learning and understanding the type of person she is and how she views other people.
  • Kaitlyn Dever as Amy Antsler. Amy is also super smart and probably the nicer of the two. She seems to be on the quieter side and a lot of her journey is coming to terms with herself and taking chances but also standing up for herself, especially against her friend. This is a journey that a lot of people have to go through because it’s hard. I think Amy is a bit more relatable in that way then Molly is and you root for her because of that. Kaitlyn Dever is really good and she reminded me of a friend from high school.
Supporting Characters. There quite a lot of people we come into contact with on a regular basis. I’m definitely not going through all of them but I think it’s great to even give a sentence.
  • Jessica Williams as Miss Fine. I haven’t really listened to her podcast but I know who she is and I do enjoy what I have seen and heard from her. It’s nice to see her in some major films. She’s basically a cool teacher in this film and comes to the girls rescue when they need it. She is super cool lol with some questionable outfits in her car.
  • Lisa Kudrow as Charmaine Antsler. I mean it’s Phoebe! lol she has some great lines and I think laughed each time she was on screen.
  • Will Forte as Doug Antsler. He had great chemistry with Lisa Kudrow and I wonder how often they bounced off each other and just made stuff up. I feel like it was a lot.
  • Jason Sudeikis as Jordan Brown. He is the principal of the school and I don’t always find him funny but I like his awkwardness in this. It works for him.
  • Billie Lourd as Gigi. She is a trip and I love her. I discovered her in Scream Queens, and I get excited every time I see her because her character is soo odd. She is weird and hilarious. She keeps popping up in places and she just doesn’t care and does her own thing. I thought she was going to be a mean girl but thankfully she’s just quirky.
  • Skyler Gisondo as Jared. I really like Skyler and I get excited every time I see him because he’s awkward but so likable. I haven’t seen him in anything I haven’t liked him in. Jared is a rich kid who doesn’t seem to have any friends. He flounces his wealth but he doesn’t do it in an obnoxious way, it’s just super awkward. It’s clear from the moment he interacts with Molly that he has a crush on her and he’s always willing to be a hero but ya know… awkwardly lol.
Pretty Funny. I’ll talk about this a little more later but this movie is pretty funny. I think all the characters we come into contact with have a ton of great and hilarious lines and moments. However, I think most of the humor comes from situations and moments and characters reactions more so than the dialogue. Molly’s reaction to finding out characters  got into good schools as well as partied was hilarious and I totally get that hahaha. Also the Lyft scene with the radio… that was so awkward and gold. I think everyone in my theater died laughing. Billie Lourd and Noah Galvin I think got the most laughs from my theater. I swear, it’s always the background characters.
Best Friend Chemistry. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever had really great chemistry. I believed they were friends since they were kids. They had similar personalities but also very different. Molly (Feldstein) was more of the go-getter between the two of them, she also was the more pushy one. Amy (Dever)  is the more reserved one and less willing to do things than Molly but she was always willing after a little coaxing. That is how friends can be. I also think what they go through in terms of the friendship is realistic in how friendships go.
Coming of Age Story. I’ve always loved coming of age stories because they’re always so interesting and can be very different. In ways, they can end up similar because of the nature but teenagers can come of age in many ways and through many trials and tribulations. Molly and Amy have similar journeys in the film but they also branch out to have their own stories.
Direction Choices. Good job Olivia Wilde. The movie isn’t set in the 80s but it has a very 80s feel to it. It even looks like an 80s movie and I think that’s a good choice since everyone is obsessed with the 80s nowadays. I also quite liked how whenever both Amy and Molly were on screen, we saw them both because they were each other’s equals even if it didn’t always feel that way for Amy. One of my favorite moments was when Amy was in the pool and we just saw her swimming through, the music was great, her expressions were great and it just felt like a moment of growth for her even though it led to a moment of heartbreak. For her debut, I think Olivia Wilde did really well.
Slow Buildup. It takes a moment for the movie to gain it’s momentum. I get it, I mean the fun stuff happens once school ends and you know it’s building towards a night of shenanigans but it spends too much time in some conversations at the school that we don’t particularly need to spend so much time on. Like the conversation in the bathroom with Molly listening to, it’s good because it leads up to her freak out but that conversation was I was like “let’s get going now.”
Not All Jokes Land. Humor is subjective so it’s always hard to criticize humor because just because I think a joke is funny doesn’t mean that others will and vice versa. There were people in my theater who cracked up at almost everything but I didn’t laugh at all the jokes. I mean, I got them but they weren’t funny. Sometimes the jokes were there with the intension of being funny instead of just being funny the way the other jokes were. Organic jokes are way better. Don’t try to force the laughter, just let it happen.
Stupid Argument. I don’t think the argument itself was stupid BUT I think why it happened was stupid. It could have been avoided if Amy was straightforward with Molly. I get the whole “Malala” thing and it was a cool thing they did but it’s not the same as when Molly used ibecause YOU COULD HAVE JUST TOLD HER. I hate when movies make friends argue, probably an overdue argument, but make them argue in the worst of times. Like, if they’re going to argue then make it legit, don’t make it because one of them has an issue and won’t tell the other what the problem is… I mean I hate that and it’s lazy. Think of a better way.
Overall, I really liked Booksmart. If you like coming of age movies, then this is right up your alley. Movies like this never quite go out of style because you can get something out of it each time. The two standouts are definitely Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever and their friendship. The film rides on these two being likable, relatable to each other and the audience and I think the casting was really on point for this. The directional choices were really good, and it’s very funny, especially when it’s just letting characters be and they’re not riding on hilarious dialogue but on the actors just having fun and of course the situations they find themselves. With that said, it’s not always funny to me. I found some of the jokes felt forced or like they were trying to pull a laugh and I was like meh. The movie takes a moment to gain it’s momentum but when it gets going, it keeps going. Lastly, the argument between Amy and Molly towards the end, while the dialogue is necessary, I felt like the buildup to it could have been handled differently because I hate arguments over misunderstandings, especially when it could be fixed by just speaking up. Gosh! But this was a great movie and I recommend it for everyone, especially girls and especially those kids who focused so hard on school and never gave themselves the chance to have fun.
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Booksmart? If so, what did you think about it?
What is your favorite coming of age film? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading and be sure to keep an eye out for more movie reviews!

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